Spain restores free IVF to singles, lesbians and now trans people

Fertility treatment is now free for the majority of people in Spain. Photo: GENYA SAVILOV / AFP
Fertility treatment is now free for the majority of people in Spain. Photo: GENYA SAVILOV / AFP
The Spanish government on Wednesday confirmed it will restore state-funded fertility treatment to singles, bisexual women and lesbians, also extending it to transgender persons capable of conceiving who can access IVF on the national health system.

The measure had long been demanded by LGBT rights groups and is part of the Socialist-led government’s drive for equality.

Fertility treatment is free in Spain, but in 2014, the conservative Popular Party government that was in power at the time, limited it to heterosexual women who have a partner, forcing others to pay for private treatment.

Since then, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment has only been free for those with fertility problems resulting from a medical condition, or to prevent the transmission of a serious disease or disorder.

It was not available to those who were unable to conceive without having fertility problems, such as single women or lesbians.

“The government has restored the right of single women, lesbians and bisexuals to access assisted reproduction techniques within the national health system and has extended it to transgender people with gestational capacity,” a ministry statement said.

Under the new ministerial order, which came into effect on Wednesday, the service will affect some 8,500 women, according to the health ministry.

“This is a milestone,” said Health Minister Carolina Darias on signing the order, indicating it would have “an important impact on these groups, guaranteeing access to assisted reproduction techniques under equal conditions”.

“Spain is a world leader in public health and in rights for women and the LGBTI community,” she added.

Despite the conservative government’s move to limit the service seven years ago, many of Spain’s 17 regions, which are responsible for their own healthcare policy, refused to enforce it.

Spain’s current government, which describes itself as feminist, has a record number of women serving in the cabinet.

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